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Sunil Sharpe and Give Us The Night pen open letter to Irish government over lack of support for nightlife industry

"Irish venues, nightclubs and music events are being disregarded," Sharpe says in the letter

Irish DJ Sunil Sharpe has penned an open letter to senior Irish politicians about what he describes as a neglect of the events industry.

Sharpe, a campaigner for change in licensing rules and other matters surrounding Ireland's nighttime industry as part of the group Give Us The Night, has addressed the letter to Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland; Leo Varadkar, the deputy prime minister and minister for enterprise, trade and employment; and Catherine Martin, the minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media.

"Irish venues, nightclubs and music events are being disregarded, and more closures are certain if this continues," Sharpe says in the letter, which goes on to question why Ireland's nighttime industry is still largely shut 17 months on from the first closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a high rate of vaccination in Ireland.

At the time of writing, Ireland has vaccinated around 60% of its population, while around 1,300 new infections are being reported each day.

Sharpe describes the Irish Government's plan of action with regards to the nightlife industry "inadequate, inflexible and lacking a basic understanding of how the industry works".

He also proposes a 13-point plan of action, which includes a call for a guarantee of non-socially distanced trial events from September, as well as a lifting of the ban on dancing and loud music, expansion of public testing services, and assurances that venue closures should be a last resort measure once they do reopen.

"The sector has struggled over decades under strict, outdated and soul-destroying regulations that have been responsible for the gradual decay and disappearance of what was once a thriving industry," Sharpe concludes. "All of these issues have been compounded by the pandemic."

The Irish Government published a strategy for reopening in April, which included a plan to reopen nightlife in June. That has not materialised, however, with indoor and outdoor music events still prohibited, despite bars and restaurants having been allowed to open again.

You can read the letter in full via the embed below.

Read DJ Mag's recent feature on how the fight for the future of Irish clubbing is creating real change, here.